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By Amber Trail

What can you do to start the new year off right as a business owner? I have a suggestion: Bring your business to the next level through your people. 

Yes, your people. As a small employer, I understand the need for rewarding and respecting your employees to grow your business. Before this, I worked in the corporate world, where working the daily grind can be unforgiving, particularly for the employees.  

I know as an employer and as a business owner that you’ve already got a lot on your plate. But trust me when I say that this year is the year that you should spend a lot of time focusing on what you can do better as an employer. If your employees love what they do and love where they work, they will be the best promotion of your business. 

Trust is an important part of every relationship — yes, that goes for coworkers and employees too! As a leader, it’s crucial to set the tone of trust in the workplace. Trust is a two-way street that helps build productivity, morale, and loyalty, if you do it right.

We’ve done our research to help our clients focus on up-leveling their businesses. Our findings concluded that you do in fact need to devote more time and energy to your people — the ones that make your business run effectively and efficiently. 

We surveyed 200 employees and asked what they wanted to see more of in the workplace, and here’s what they had to say:

Be Dependable and Available

When your employees need you, you better be there. Being available requires you to make time to build that sense of community with your employees. It’s also important to ask them for feedback and show that you’re readily available to improve yourself and your team.

Be Honest and Supportive

You need to approach your employees as a steward who’s ready to help them grow into the best version of themselves. It’s important to be transparent and share any relevant information with your employees from up the chain. It’s more encouraging when a manager openly talks to and supports employees during a difficult time or situation. This requires you to really develop your listening skills as a manager and empathize with your team. Create that workplace where all people matter and all are welcome.

Connect and Cooperate

You must make the time to get to know your staff and what they need to perform at their best. Take the time to ask them questions about their tasks and if they need your assistance with anything. Also, make a point of connecting with them beyond the office, as your workers are human beings and not just numbers.

Along with all of the right things to do, there are some behaviors to avoid as well. Here’s a list from the same employees when asked what they don’t want to see in the workplace:

Do Not Micromanage

Ask yourself: Do you like being micromanaged? Chances are, most likely not. Micromanaging will lead to a massive breakdown of any trust that was once there. If you want to show your employees that you trust them, you shouldn’t be breathing down their neck regarding every task. Give your employees a sense of autonomy in the workplace, and allow them to have that space to complete their tasks to the best of their ability without your opinion every step of the way.

Do Not Command

As an effective manager, you should encourage and not command. The old style of command leadership is no longer tolerated, and your employees will be gone fast if you utilize this tactic. There’s no need to control or command your staff if you trust them to do the work. Watch your tone when speaking to your employees and take care to develop, not demand.

Do Not Call Out

The goal is to grow your employees and your business. The only thing you do when you “call someone out” in a meeting or in front of other employees is rip them right out of the ground. It’s truly embarrassing and can make someone feel resentful towards you. Just like that, all trust is now gone as your employee feels defeated and disrespected. 

Don’t worry — it’s not too late to build trust with your employees! You have to start implementing these changes now, if you haven’t already. The goal is to create a workplace culture built on a trust that engages your employees by being a dependable, honest, and cooperative leader. Make this the year your workplace reaches the next level!

Amber Trail


Amber Trail, MBA, SHRM-CP is the founder and consultant for her human resources consulting

company, The HR Trail, LLC. With over a decade of HR experience, SHRM-CP and a master’s degree in Business Administration, Amber brings her passion and knowledge of human resources to small businesses nationwide. She realized that not all businesses need nor can they afford a full-time HR professional, and that’s why she decided to create The HR Trail. To provide a variety of human resource consulting services such as recruitment, coaching, company handbook development, event planning, and more. Her motto is creativity + passion = purpose and she thrives on successfully helping small businesses accomplish their human resources needs! Amber is an international best selling author and on the Brainz 500 Global list.

Instagram: @thehrtrail